I’m starting to feel like if I decided to eat Mexican every night for a year, I would not run out of new places to go to each night, such is Melbourne’s love affair with everything you can put in a tortilla. I managed to tick off another major player in the Mexican scene in the company of Jen and Zoe, as we tackled the neon auspices of the very popular Touche Hombre.
To start with, a serving of guacamole is essentially mandatory. Touche’s version is rather fancy, not only being augmented by frilled coriander leaves, but also whisper-thin slices of radish and pearls of pomegranate. It certainly created a bit more excitement to ladle onto a tortilla chip that usual.
I have rhapsodised here before about my unending excitement for ‘corn-onna-stick’, which Jen also knows about only too well and backed me up in my desire to have the elotes callejeros, which consisted of entire corn cobs slathered in butter, grilled and then covered in pecorino cheese and tajin. While the sticks used are in no way structurally load-bearing, and I would recommend that Touche Hombre get in someone with engineering nous to design a more sturdy stick, the corn itself is in no way flawed, all chargrilled smoky, buttery goodness with the drifts of cheese giving a good proper salty tang to proceedings.
The serious business at Touche Hombre is centred around their $5 tacos, of which there are about ten or so varieties, two of which are vegetarian so in the name of science I ordered both of those. The taco de tofu was filled with a slab of chargrilled tofu with chimmi churri mayo, shredded carrot and radish curls and coriander. Everything was fresh, the chimmi churri does the heavy lifting of making sure that there’s a good whack of spiace and flavour involved, which is often the downfall of a tofu-based taco, so this was very satisfactory indeed.
The taco de batata contained cubes of caramelised sweet potato, creamed corn, spring onion and mint. I actually didn’t realise there was creamed corn in it until after looking up the description post-meal, so that’s interesting. This one wasn’t quite as pleasing as the tofu one, but still interestingly put together and, most importantly, packed with complimentary flavours.
Despite initially thinking that a $5 taco ran the risk of being tiny and not terribly flavourful, Touche’s versions were, while compact, bursting with ingredients that don’t run into cliches of Mexican cooking. My one quibble is that neither the tofu or the sweet potato fillings were very hot – each taco was lukewarm at best, so if you’re looking for a warming taco you might be a bit disappointing (considering summer is here, it’s a thought to file away until autumn anyway).
Alongside the tacos I had a cool glass of horchata with 1800 coconut tequila. I’m not normally one for milky-looking alcoholic beverages, but given that horchata is made of ground almonds and sesame seeds it was delightfully nutty, and avoids the bloaty feeling you may get with boozy dairy drinks.
Despite having already tucked into an impressive array of food, it ain’t dinner unless you finish with dessert. Zoe and mine’s eyes lit up at the sight of the choc-chilli peanut ice-cream sanga that was delivered to a neighbouring table. A fat disc of vegan peanut ice cream is sandwiched between chocolate biscuits (a bit similar to the texture of yo-yo’s), and dusted in chocolate-chilli powder that actually has a reasonable kick to it, unlike many chilli-utilising desserts. The peanut ice cream was just ridiculous – rich and creamy, it was hard not to end up squawking over it like a vulture going “MINE MINE MINE” in order to snatch all of it for myself. Zoe and I managed not to come to blows over it, just.
We also ordered a coconut rice pudding with blackberry chutney. Ordinarily I love rice pudding over most other things, its such a wonderfully comforting dish for me, but everything had paled in the face of the peanut ice cream sanga. Just order the sanga. In fact, waive entree and main meal and just order three sangas. Is that going too far? But it’s SO GOOD.
I was a little worried initially that Touche Hombre might be prove to be one of those places that is all about the image without much substance beneath, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the food has some serious chops. It’s definitely taken it’s place as my preferred venue for Mexican in the CBD, so take that glowing recommendation and get there now, scoot!
233 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD
Ph: 9663 0811